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Where to After St. John?

Old Sep 23rd, 2006, 12:08 PM
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Where to After St. John?

My husband and I honeymooned at Caneel a few months back. We LOVED it, but now I'm afraid I will never be able to get him to go anywhere else. He is talking about making it an annual aniversary trip. I would like to explore some other places in the caibbean, and maybe some of the rest of the world too.

Any suggestions for other islands the hubby and I might enjoy? Good wade-in snorkling and nice beaches are our top requirements. We like to avoid crowds and don't care much about shopping. We're not to fussy about dining eather. A place or two for a nice dinner would be good, but all we really need is quick, easy meals to re-fuel for more time in the water. I also like to feel safe walking arround by myself as a 5'2" 20 something woman out for a little shopping.

Caneel and St. John were about perfect for us, but they can't be the only great places in the caribbean islands. I concidered the following for the honeymoon; Anguilla, Bonaire, Turks & Caicos, Granada, and the BVI. Any comments on any of those or any other suggestions?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2006, 12:45 PM
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I would suggest that the BVI might be a good choice for your next trip. Tortola is the busiest one, with lovely tropical beaches, but there is no one resort there that is in Caneel's league. You could take a look at Long Bay Beach Resort or the Sugar Mill or even a villa on Tortola.

On Virgin Gorda, you'll find a slightly more arid interior, but still lots of hills and gorgeous beaches and probably more pristine snorkeling than on Tortola. Little Dix is the sister hotel to Caneel, which might appeal to you. Otherwise check out Biras Creek for another upscale option, or check out Guavaberry Spring Bay for their small rental cottages--several steps down in ameneties from the above two, but price is commensurately lower, too.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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Grand Cayman has the best snorkeling that I have come across.(with St John coming in 2nd)

Christie
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 03:03 PM
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Check out the Cayman Kai area of Grand Cayman. The reef is right off the shore and excellent snorkeling from the beach to the reef.

We like to stay at the Caymna Kai Sea Lodges. Nothing fancy about them but talk about having your own private beach, etc. A 10 minute walk down the beach will take you to Rum Point for drinks, lunch etc.

Cannot say enough good things about this area of GC. Will be glad to answer any questions.

Check out:
http://www.sealodgical.com/
or http://www.caymanhaven.com/#reservations

If you go to the websites, in the pictures of the ocean -- where the water changes color - that is the reef. It is just out of this world.
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Old Sep 24th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Our first trip to the Caribbean was also to Caneel .... It's a hard act to follow! It was also the first time we tried snorkeling and needless to say we were hooked! We've subsequently been to Bermuda (Cambridge Beaches Resort) and Grand Cayman. We loved both, although each destination was very different. They all had great snorkeling in common though!

This year we are going to try Secret Harbour Resort on St. Thomas. Looks like a great cove-like beach with good snorkeling right off the beach. There's also a good restaurant on the site. We mainly picked the resort because we've found that for beach vacations we love having an apartment/condo style accomodation right on the beach -- We did this in Grand Cayman and found that it made for a very relaxing time.
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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 04:12 AM
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I agree with ejcrowe about trying the BVIs. My husband and I also fell in love with Caneel and decided to give Peter Island a try. The resort was wonderful and so were the beaches and food. You can check out my pics of Peter Island (USVI/BVIs):

http://community.webshots.com/user/ssypniewski

Caneel is still our favorite, however Peter Island is close behind! -Susan
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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 05:28 AM
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It's just one of those things I couldn't resist asking...maybe should have

But how does a woman's height affect her safety anywhere in the world ?

Marion

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Old Sep 25th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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I must comment on LvSun recommendation of Cayman Kai in the Sea Lodges. We found them more like enclosed cloustrophobic accommodations. We were there 6 or 7 years ago, though. They may have changed. but they also offer condo-style units for a bit more and it is the best snorkeling in GC. In fact, other than there the snorkeling in GC is not what it used to be 10 years ago. We were at the Hyatt 2 years ago and the damage from the hurricanes took their toll on the coral in 5-15 ft. of water making it hard to compare at all to St. John. As it turns out they say even St. John has lost 40% of the coral in 10 years due to bleaching that kills coral and the fish have to go elsewhere for food. But, it is still teriffic, in our opinion as are the B.V.I.'s.
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Old Sep 26th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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I think a woman's height might make a big difference. I'm 5' 9" and a fit 160#. My mom was 5' and 99# and my best friend is about 5'3" at 105#. When we travel, both have been accosted by panhandlers, purse snatchers, you name it. When I'm with them, no one ever bothers us! When I'm alone, no one bothers me either, but then I always carry a big purse (actually a camera bag that is my purse) that weighs about 12# with a shoulder strap.

I once had a NYC policeman walk up to me and say "Lady you might be one of the safest women in this city because of your size and the way you keep your purse strap over your shoulder and wrap a hand around it. It could easily be a weapon you know. (yep, I know, that's why I carry it!
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Old Sep 26th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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P.S. to stay on original topic... I agree that Peter Island would be a good choice as would be Little Dix or Biras Creek (all in the BVI that is almost as "American" as the USVI - the US$ is used there and it's only a long swim away from St. John).

You might like them even better since all are smaller than Caneel and more personable. You can read a review about all of them at www.scubamom.com/bvi/ - take the Four Resorts link.

Have fun where ever you go!
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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Staying on the subject of the original post... I would agree that anywhere in the BVI's is comparable in safety to St. John/St. Thomas. You don't sound like the type to go wandering alone late at night, so just about anywhere is pretty safe. Downtown Charlotte Amalie is a tourist trap, but you'd feel pretty comfortable shopping with the rest of the crowd. Grand Cayman seems like it would be a good choice as well. Of course, there's always Bermuda. Hamilton and St. George are pretty congenial for shopping and exploring for a woman alone. As for height of a woman, I'm 5'3.5" and pretty trim. I have been approached by panhandlers but have never been accosted physically (knock on wood). I've traveled to many second and third world places. I was also told by a policeman (in NYC), that people (male or female) who look uncertain as to where they're going, and who look like they are not paying close attention to their immediate surroundings at all times tend to be singled out by perps. IMO, attitude goes a long way to combat the perception that smaller means more vulnerable. Of course, my family and friends say I "look" mean. I think I just look like I know what I'm doing. IMO, study maps, descriptions, etc. of wherever you are going beforehand so you have a sense of where you are and where you're going without endless consulting of maps while traveling. No thin-strapped purses. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Keep your wits about you, and you will be fine.
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 06:02 AM
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Susan (if you're still monitoring): I'd be grateful if you could tell me a bit abt the room you had at Peter Island. The photos make it look fairly small, including a pretty small bathroom. Is that the case? Was this a top or bottom unit? (The slanted ceiling seems to add to the sense of claustrophobia, no?) We've been to Caneel a number of times and Little Dix onbce, and I've always been interested in trying PI. But their rooms don't look real appealing. I could be abslutely mistaken abt that. I hope you'll reply.
Annieinchicago: My suggestion, since you loved Caneel so much, would be to try Little Dix next. By the way, the rooms at LD are far superior to Caneel's (food just as unimpressive). NOt all those separate wonderful beaches as at Caneel, but a large gorgeous one. Snorkeling not as good as at Caneel, but ok. And lots of other very good spots around the island.
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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Tuxedocat:

I agree with your comments completely ! It IS about attitude and demeanor and not about height/weight, which was the reason for my original comment.

I travel solo, and have never thought that my height was relevant to my safety in any situation.

It was just an observation...meant to have women continue to think and not define themselves and their safety by *numbers*

Marion

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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 09:52 AM
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To poss,
Yes we did stay in the upper oceanfront room. The room was on the smaller size but for two people it was fine. We would sit out on our balcony if and when we were in the room. As far as the bathroom goes, it wasn't any smaller then your standard room at a Holiday Inn, etc. We thought that these rooms were fine and you do not spend that much time in them. The bottom units would feel larger due to the fact the ceiling does not slant down, however I would think that your views of the ocean would be limited since there is a lot of landscaping surrounding the rooms. The location of the ocean veiw rooms were very convenient, short walk to the pool, lobby area, breakfasat/dining area. However, the walk to Deadman's beach was several minutes up a hill. They do provide shuttles to the beaches, etc. I highly recommend if you are considering to go, to do the "Loop" where they take you to watch the sunset. You feel that you are so far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and at the same time, in paradise. -Susan
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Old Sep 27th, 2006, 04:23 PM
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Susan: Thanks so much for responding. Alas, I'm still confused, so I hope you have the patience to answer further.
Was your room ocean front or ocean view? (You changed terminology in your post.) If I understand the layout correctly, it was one of the units up on the hill, yes? Are the ones on the beach called beachfront (rather than oceanfront)? I would so much prefer an upper unit (in either case). We've never been comfortable in ground floor rooms (even if the "ground" is a beach!) No real privacy. Can't walk around in birthday suits, etc. But what you say kind of confirms my impression of the rooms at PI-- fairly small, especially the bathrooms. (Little Dix seems to be considerably better in that respect-- and comparably priced,if I'm not mistaken.) Can't decide whether the place will be worth all the $$$. E.g. if the bathroom was abt the size as a standard Holiday Inn room-- yet cost all that money-- ouch!
Again, thanks for your input.
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Old Sep 28th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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Poss, I apologize for the confusion. Yes the rooms I am referring to are Ocean View. The rooms are either ocean view or beachfront.

I would recommend the upper level because you will get better views vs. the lower. The rooms are not huge but they are sufficient. I heard the beachfront rooms are very spacious but we didn't want to spend the extra $$$. When you think the amount of time you are in your room the size should not be a breaking factor. As long as you have a nice view, comfortable bed, nice amenities, etc.

The bathroom is not huge but it is a decent size. You have two seperate sinks and it is all marble. We enjoyed the surroundings and the food immensely.

Unfortunately the spa was not 100% complete when we were staying there but we were able to tour the area. It was absolutely beautiful. You really can't go wrong with PI.

We haven't been to Little Dix yet but that's on my list. In 2 weeks we're headed back to St. John for a wedding. We will be staying at the Westin for 4 nights and then going back to Caneel for the final 4. Any more questions, I'll be happy to answer! - Susan
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Old Sep 29th, 2006, 12:21 PM
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Thanks, Susan-- and have a wonderful time on your upcoming re-visit to St John.
(I noticed on another post, by the way, that you enjoyed the Equator restaurant. We felt it was probably the worst place we've eaten on St John-- absolutely loathed it (except for the nice view and the building is kind of handsome) We even took cabs several night into town from Caneel, so we could eat off property. I wonder if the restaurant has improved since we were there a couple of years ago.)
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